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Victims' Guide to the International Criminal Court

NCJ Number
Pierre Hazan
Date Published
109 pages
This guide explains the mandate and operation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), with attention to the status and role of the victim in the court's procedures.
The founders of the ICC assigned victims a key role in the court's operation. Victims may induce the prosecutor to open an investigation by writing a letter to the ICC to the attention of the prosecutor. The letter should describe the victimization and whatever evidence of the victimization the victim may possess. Moreover, victims have the right to testify before the court and participate in the proceedings from the start of the investigation. Their legal representatives may consult documents in court records, demand further investigation, express their opinion on the admissibility of the charges and the court's jurisdiction, and question the accused either directly or through the presiding judge. During trials, victims may take the stand and are entitled to seek prompt reparations for proven crimes. In describing what the ICC does, the first section of this guide explains the basic rules of the court's operation, obstacles that are confronting the ICC, and challenges it must address. The second section profiles the crimes that are under the ICC's jurisdiction; namely, the crimes of aggression and genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. One section of the guide is devoted to crimes against women and children that come under the ICC's jurisdiction, such as sexual violence in the context of war, genocide by the forcible transfer of children, the enlistment of children in war, and trafficking in children. Another section explains how victims may participate in ICC trials, followed by a section on the court's protection of victims and witnesses. The concluding section explains the court's power and procedures for awarding victim reparations. Appended information on the International Criminal Bar and the ICC organization